Does undergrad really not matter?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22848
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat May 30, 2015 6:48 pm

JonTheMandamus wrote:Damn. Well I took a shot at it. Y'all make a good point.

To be fair, I think that if you have two candidates who are equal in every other way, UG could tip the scales in one direction or the other - whether because one school looks more "impressive" than another, or adds to "diversity" because they never get students from that school, or students from that school have performed better, or one of the adcomms is an alum, or whatever. I just don't think UG is going to outweigh something like a .4 GPA difference, for all the reasons people have stated.

User avatar
Poldy
Posts: 917
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:17 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby Poldy » Sat May 30, 2015 6:50 pm

I think it generally doesn't matter but I don't know that it is always that way. For example, I think my cycle was definitely helped by my school/major. Major probably more than school but still.

User avatar
RunnerRunner
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:16 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby RunnerRunner » Sat May 30, 2015 7:17 pm

If Shippensburg applicant scores 1 point higher on the LSAT than BU applicant, adcomms are going to take Shippensburg applicant.

03152016
Posts: 9189
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:14 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby 03152016 » Sat May 30, 2015 7:19 pm

@sumo
and my experience cuts the other way
music major from a poorly regarded/unknown state school (just above community college level; killer conservatory program but no one really knows that), non-rigorous courses, just generally unimpressive academic background
had no discernible negative effect, did not underperform my numbers

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 9647
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby jbagelboy » Sun May 31, 2015 12:18 am

As a general rule, elite colleges beyond a cute "HYPCSMC" acronym -- such as highly selective liberal arts colleges and premier public universities -- do pretty well for graduate and professional school placement, and are recognized by admissions committees and faculty when they review a file.

But I don't think BU and Syracuse are the type of schools that an adcom would think twice about in that way.

User avatar
Mack.Hambleton
Posts: 5417
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:09 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Sun May 31, 2015 12:25 am

jbagelboy wrote:As a general rule, elite colleges beyond a cute "HYPCSMC" acronym -- such as highly selective liberal arts colleges and premier public universities -- do pretty well for graduate and professional school placement, and are recognized by admissions committees and faculty when they review a file.

But I don't think BU and Syracuse are the type of schools that an adcom would think twice about in that way.


Its just HYPSM

User avatar
jbagelboy
Posts: 9647
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby jbagelboy » Sun May 31, 2015 12:35 am

Mack.Hambleton wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:As a general rule, elite colleges beyond a cute "HYPCSMC" acronym -- such as highly selective liberal arts colleges and premier public universities -- do pretty well for graduate and professional school placement, and are recognized by admissions committees and faculty when they review a file.

But I don't think BU and Syracuse are the type of schools that an adcom would think twice about in that way.


Its just HYPSM


Whatever these 5-10 schools are, who gives a fuck, not the point

JonTheMandamus
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:16 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby JonTheMandamus » Sun May 31, 2015 12:41 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
JonTheMandamus wrote:Damn. Well I took a shot at it. Y'all make a good point.

To be fair, I think that if you have two candidates who are equal in every other way, UG could tip the scales in one direction or the other - whether because one school looks more "impressive" than another, or adds to "diversity" because they never get students from that school, or students from that school have performed better, or one of the adcomms is an alum, or whatever. I just don't think UG is going to outweigh something like a .4 GPA difference, for all the reasons people have stated.


A splitter can hope :D

User avatar
nothingtosee
Posts: 865
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:08 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby nothingtosee » Sun May 31, 2015 1:27 am

dontrogerthat wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Yes. Is there some magical difference between BU and Shippensburg I'm missing?

Well one is a very well respected school and the other is a state school for kids who couldn't get into Temple/Penn state/Pitt.



Image

User avatar
Mack.Hambleton
Posts: 5417
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:09 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Sun May 31, 2015 1:30 am

jbagelboy wrote:
Mack.Hambleton wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:As a general rule, elite colleges beyond a cute "HYPCSMC" acronym -- such as highly selective liberal arts colleges and premier public universities -- do pretty well for graduate and professional school placement, and are recognized by admissions committees and faculty when they review a file.

But I don't think BU and Syracuse are the type of schools that an adcom would think twice about in that way.


Its just HYPSM


Whatever these 5-10 schools are, who gives a fuck, not the point


columbia trolling

always works

User avatar
POTUSorSCOTUS
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:31 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby POTUSorSCOTUS » Sun May 31, 2015 12:30 pm

Princeton vs. Local community college?

User avatar
RunnerRunner
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:16 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby RunnerRunner » Sun May 31, 2015 1:05 pm

POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Princeton vs. Local community college?


Yeah, they would look more favorably on Princeton. But if Princeton kid doesn't have the LSAT, GPA, and softs to go with their degree they aren't getting into any place worthwhile anyway. If I am an adcomm looking at a Princeton grad with a 3.3/152 and a lean resume I am thinking "wow, this kid REALLY squandered a great opportunity" not "oh wow, Princeton grad, must be amazing!" That's why undergrad is a weak soft: basically any other part of your application overrides it. Sure, there are a lot of Ivy-League-and-equivalent grads at YHS, but those people also have the GPA/LSAT/softs to match their degrees.

User avatar
POTUSorSCOTUS
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:31 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby POTUSorSCOTUS » Sun May 31, 2015 2:39 pm

RunnerRunner wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Princeton vs. Local community college?


Yeah, they would look more favorably on Princeton. But if Princeton kid doesn't have the LSAT, GPA, and softs to go with their degree they aren't getting into any place worthwhile anyway. If I am an adcomm looking at a Princeton grad with a 3.3/152 and a lean resume I am thinking "wow, this kid REALLY squandered a great opportunity" not "oh wow, Princeton grad, must be amazing!" That's why undergrad is a weak soft: basically any other part of your application overrides it. Sure, there are a lot of Ivy-League-and-equivalent grads at YHS, but those people also have the GPA/LSAT/softs to match their degrees.


I was thinking more along the lines of:

3.5 + 170 (Princeton) vs. 3.6 + 171 (Community College)

User avatar
haus
Posts: 2835
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby haus » Sun May 31, 2015 2:44 pm

POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:
RunnerRunner wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Princeton vs. Local community college?


Yeah, they would look more favorably on Princeton. But if Princeton kid doesn't have the LSAT, GPA, and softs to go with their degree they aren't getting into any place worthwhile anyway. If I am an adcomm looking at a Princeton grad with a 3.3/152 and a lean resume I am thinking "wow, this kid REALLY squandered a great opportunity" not "oh wow, Princeton grad, must be amazing!" That's why undergrad is a weak soft: basically any other part of your application overrides it. Sure, there are a lot of Ivy-League-and-equivalent grads at YHS, but those people also have the GPA/LSAT/softs to match their degrees.


I was thinking more along the lines of:

3.5 + 170 (Princeton) vs. 3.6 + 171 (Community College)

Well, assuming you have found a community college that offers bachelors degrees, I would favor that 171, because they have the higher score, and likely did not get their by being exposed to/surrounded by brilliant people.

ETA: plus it is much rarer find to pick up a 171 out of a community college than it would be to find a student with a 170 from Princeton or its peers.

User avatar
POTUSorSCOTUS
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:31 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby POTUSorSCOTUS » Sun May 31, 2015 2:49 pm

haus wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:
RunnerRunner wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Princeton vs. Local community college?


Yeah, they would look more favorably on Princeton. But if Princeton kid doesn't have the LSAT, GPA, and softs to go with their degree they aren't getting into any place worthwhile anyway. If I am an adcomm looking at a Princeton grad with a 3.3/152 and a lean resume I am thinking "wow, this kid REALLY squandered a great opportunity" not "oh wow, Princeton grad, must be amazing!" That's why undergrad is a weak soft: basically any other part of your application overrides it. Sure, there are a lot of Ivy-League-and-equivalent grads at YHS, but those people also have the GPA/LSAT/softs to match their degrees.


I was thinking more along the lines of:

3.5 + 170 (Princeton) vs. 3.6 + 171 (Community College)

Well, assuming you have found a community college that offers bachelors degrees, I would favor that 171, because they have the higher score, and likely did not get their by being exposed to/surrounded by brilliant people.

ETA: plus it is much rarer find to pick up a 171 out of a community college than it would be to find a student with a 170 from Princeton or its peers.


Princeton is also known for grade deflation though, so a 3.5 Princeton GPA is the functional equivalent of (arguably) a 4.0 at community college. I'm really just poking at whether adcomms truly value numbers over softs all day

User avatar
haus
Posts: 2835
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby haus » Sun May 31, 2015 2:57 pm

POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Princeton is also known for grade deflation though, so a 3.5 Princeton GPA is the functional equivalent of (arguably) a 4.0 at community college. I'm really just poking at whether adcomms truly value numbers over softs all day

The motivation for the adcom looking at 170+ LSAT scores is not if the student is capable of doing the work in law school (I suspect actual academic failure for this subset is exceedingly small, and mostly related to unforeseen circumstances. Instead it is how it will look in the rankings, and no ranking system that anyone cares about cares if Princeton is 'hard'.

ETA: no top law school is lacking in the diversity of thought that comes from having extra students with undergrad Ivy League degrees.

User avatar
POTUSorSCOTUS
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 1:31 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby POTUSorSCOTUS » Sun May 31, 2015 3:01 pm

haus wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Princeton is also known for grade deflation though, so a 3.5 Princeton GPA is the functional equivalent of (arguably) a 4.0 at community college. I'm really just poking at whether adcomms truly value numbers over softs all day

The motivation for the adcom looking at 170+ LSAT scores is not if the student is capable of doing the work in law school (I suspect actual academic failure for this subset is exceedingly small, and mostly related to unforeseen circumstances. Instead it is how it will look in the rankings, and no ranking system that anyone cares about cares if Princeton is 'hard'.

ETA: no top law school is lacking in the diversity of thought that comes from having extra students with undergrad Ivy League degrees.


Do you think adcomms consider whether the potential law student will go on to lead a "successful" life, which continues X-Law school's legacy? I feel like LS adcomms would prefer a Princeton "elitist" who is likely to be successful rather than "Lucky" Community college person because of the future success and affiliation

User avatar
haus
Posts: 2835
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby haus » Sun May 31, 2015 3:06 pm

POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:
haus wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Princeton is also known for grade deflation though, so a 3.5 Princeton GPA is the functional equivalent of (arguably) a 4.0 at community college. I'm really just poking at whether adcomms truly value numbers over softs all day

The motivation for the adcom looking at 170+ LSAT scores is not if the student is capable of doing the work in law school (I suspect actual academic failure for this subset is exceedingly small, and mostly related to unforeseen circumstances. Instead it is how it will look in the rankings, and no ranking system that anyone cares about cares if Princeton is 'hard'.

ETA: no top law school is lacking in the diversity of thought that comes from having extra students with undergrad Ivy League degrees.


Do you think adcomms consider whether the potential law student will go on to lead a "successful" life, which continues X-Law school's legacy? I feel like LS adcomms would prefer a Princeton "elitist" who is likely to be successful rather than "Lucky" Community college person because of the future success and affiliation

The limited numbers that we have do not seem to support your notion, plus, I suspect that most school at the very top beleive that a student merely attending their school will have no problems being successful. This may be less true as you fall down the rank structure where they might receive less applications from schools such as Princeton.

User avatar
RunnerRunner
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:16 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby RunnerRunner » Sun May 31, 2015 3:53 pm

POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:
haus wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Princeton is also known for grade deflation though, so a 3.5 Princeton GPA is the functional equivalent of (arguably) a 4.0 at community college. I'm really just poking at whether adcomms truly value numbers over softs all day

The motivation for the adcom looking at 170+ LSAT scores is not if the student is capable of doing the work in law school (I suspect actual academic failure for this subset is exceedingly small, and mostly related to unforeseen circumstances. Instead it is how it will look in the rankings, and no ranking system that anyone cares about cares if Princeton is 'hard'.

ETA: no top law school is lacking in the diversity of thought that comes from having extra students with undergrad Ivy League degrees.


Do you think adcomms consider whether the potential law student will go on to lead a "successful" life, which continues X-Law school's legacy? I feel like LS adcomms would prefer a Princeton "elitist" who is likely to be successful rather than "Lucky" Community college person because of the future success and affiliation


I do think adcomms care about whether a potential law student will go on to a successful life and represent the school well, but I don't think this would lead them to select the Princeton kid in this scenario. As someone else pointed out, Princeton grads performing well on the LSAT are nothing out of the ordinary. Not all, but many Princeton students have had lots of educational advantages over the courses of their lives, which many CC grads didn't have access to. So, a CC grad performing on a higher level than a Princeton grad seems to show that they have a special capacity for success regardless of circumstance, which will likely continue to be the case for them in the future, meaning they will represent their law school well. None of this is to downplay Princeton: no matter where you come from it is challenging to get there and I think a 3.5/170 Princeton grad would likely outperform their numbers a little bit, I'm just saying they aren't necessarily beating out 3.6/171 kids from less prestigious schools with otherwise equivalent softs.


User avatar
haus
Posts: 2835
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby haus » Sun May 31, 2015 4:02 pm

Mack.Hambleton wrote:http://www.law.harvard.edu/prospective/jd/apply/undergrads.html

172 schools, that covers a lot of ground.

Then again, before going to law school I attended over 10 schools myself (at least three from this list...)

JonTheMandamus
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:16 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby JonTheMandamus » Sun May 31, 2015 4:08 pm

POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:
haus wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:
RunnerRunner wrote:
POTUSorSCOTUS wrote:Princeton vs. Local community college?


Yeah, they would look more favorably on Princeton. But if Princeton kid doesn't have the LSAT, GPA, and softs to go with their degree they aren't getting into any place worthwhile anyway. If I am an adcomm looking at a Princeton grad with a 3.3/152 and a lean resume I am thinking "wow, this kid REALLY squandered a great opportunity" not "oh wow, Princeton grad, must be amazing!" That's why undergrad is a weak soft: basically any other part of your application overrides it. Sure, there are a lot of Ivy-League-and-equivalent grads at YHS, but those people also have the GPA/LSAT/softs to match their degrees.


I was thinking more along the lines of:

3.5 + 170 (Princeton) vs. 3.6 + 171 (Community College)

Well, assuming you have found a community college that offers bachelors degrees, I would favor that 171, because they have the higher score, and likely did not get their by being exposed to/surrounded by brilliant people.

ETA: plus it is much rarer find to pick up a 171 out of a community college than it would be to find a student with a 170 from Princeton or its peers.


Princeton is also known for grade deflation though, so a 3.5 Princeton GPA is the functional equivalent of (arguably) a 4.0 at community college. I'm really just poking at whether adcomms truly value numbers over softs all day


Not that the LSAT is this pristine way of measuring intelligence, but if you could score a 171, you're probably not being academically challenged in a community college. If you're only getting a 3.6 when you're by far the most qualified person among your peers, wouldn't an adcomm hesitate to rule you as capable of doing well in law school? (assuming that law school is harder than community college X) Feel free to make your case if you disagree, but that's just what I think.

hdunlop
Posts: 461
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:14 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby hdunlop » Sun May 31, 2015 4:12 pm

Yeah I think that's a great point actually. At 3.95 undergrad feels interchangeable; at 3.6 you start to wonder what the hell's wrong with you that you can't excel at community college or even Dumbshit U.

TheBananaStand
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:31 am

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby TheBananaStand » Sun May 31, 2015 4:15 pm

Generally, I think the case for each side of the argument is somewhat overstated. While I don't think UG provides an significant boost, I also don't think it's a negligible one. Numbers are numbers regardless of where they come from, but there are few things that have led me to believe that UG has a bigger impact that many TLS posters let on. That's my view based on first-hand knowledge and some hearsay (which I've come to believe):

1. I just graduated from a (quote unquote) Top 10 school and having met with our pre-law advisor a few times, I do think that being from one of these schools can give applicants a noticeable bump in admissions. The advisor gave us the average LSAT/GPA combos for applicants from my undergrad who were accepted to T14 schools, and for nearly all of them, the average LSAT, GPA, or both were slightly below those law schools' published medians (E.g. admitted avg GPA to HLS from my school was more like a 3.8 than a 3.9, etc.). The advisor gave me averages, which I compared to medians, so that could have skewed it somewhat. Also, the advisor seemed to have formed relationships with many of these schools' adcomms, which I would guess would help in instances where applicants push hard, with the help of the advisor, to get off the waitlist. I wouldn't be surprised if that occurs given how frequent it is in undergrad admissions (the book The Gatekeepers illustrates just how much sway the college counselors at prestigious prep schools have at getting their students into top UGs, and I'd think the same dynamics could come into play with law school).
2. The other thing I've heard is that UG prestige can help with getting that first 1L summer job, but thereafter, the difference of UG has no discernible effect on career prospects. Not sure if that's true or not. :?: But if it is, I could see adcomms maybe giving an edge to certain UG degrees.
3. I have no idea if this is a thing, but I could also see adcomms preferring a 3.7 from princeton to a 3.7 from JohnDoe given the differences in LSAT averages at that school. If the princeton average LSAT is a 165, and the JohnDoe average is a 153, it might suggest that the Princeton student had greater competition to secure that GPA because of his/her talented classmates (obviously, this is assuming both schools grade on a similar curve, which might not be a reasonable assumption).

Just my 2 cents. Some evidence, even more speculation :wink:

JonTheMandamus
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:16 pm

Re: Does undergrad really not matter?

Postby JonTheMandamus » Sun May 31, 2015 4:31 pm

TheBananaStand wrote:Generally, I think the case for each side of the argument is somewhat overstated. While I don't think UG provides an significant boost, I also don't think it's a negligible one. Numbers are numbers regardless of where they come from, but there are few things that have led me to believe that UG has a bigger impact that many TLS posters let on. That's my view based on first-hand knowledge and some hearsay (which I've come to believe):

1. I just graduated from a (quote unquote) Top 10 school and having met with our pre-law advisor a few times, I do think that being from one of these schools can give applicants a noticeable bump in admissions. The advisor gave us the average LSAT/GPA combos for applicants from my undergrad who were accepted to T14 schools, and for nearly all of them, the average LSAT, GPA, or both were slightly below those law schools' published medians (E.g. admitted avg GPA to HLS from my school was more like a 3.8 than a 3.9, etc.). The advisor gave me averages, which I compared to medians, so that could have skewed it somewhat. Also, the advisor seemed to have formed relationships with many of these schools' adcomms, which I would guess would help in instances where applicants push hard, with the help of the advisor, to get off the waitlist. I wouldn't be surprised if that occurs given how frequent it is in undergrad admissions (the book The Gatekeepers illustrates just how much sway the college counselors at prestigious prep schools have at getting their students into top UGs, and I'd think the same dynamics could come into play with law school).
2. The other thing I've heard is that UG prestige can help with getting that first 1L summer job, but thereafter, the difference of UG has no discernible effect on career prospects. Not sure if that's true or not. :?: But if it is, I could see adcomms maybe giving an edge to certain UG degrees.
3. I have no idea if this is a thing, but I could also see adcomms preferring a 3.7 from princeton to a 3.7 from JohnDoe given the differences in LSAT averages at that school. If the princeton average LSAT is a 165, and the JohnDoe average is a 153, it might suggest that the Princeton student had greater competition to secure that GPA because of his/her talented classmates (obviously, this is assuming both schools grade on a similar curve, which might not be a reasonable assumption).

Just my 2 cents. Some evidence, even more speculation :wink:


+1 pretty reasonable comment. I think the goal adcomms have is to decide if you can handle the workload and not be one of the few people that don't make it through their program. That decision is based very subjectively on a combination of your gpa, your undergrad, your major, and what you spent your time doing (softs) alongside academics. For every applicant, some of those factors may be more or less important/relevant.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], patrickkpaul and 9 guests